Sirshasana yoga posture

Recently, I have been learning how to do Sirshasana yoga (headstand).

It is known as the ‘King of asanas’ A yoga expert I.K.S Iyengar says if you only have time for one or two yoga postures – do this and other ‘inversions’ – where you put yourself upside down.

On Sri Chinmoy’s path, hatha yoga is not an important component – I did no yoga for the first 18 years on the path, but without being to cycle I have been seeking other ways to keep the body moving. This yoga also is a challenge, so you get a feeling of progress – self-transcendence.

As far as I know, the headstand is one of the posture Sri Chinmoy has specifically recommended.

“It is very good to do headstands or two or three minutes of asanas, Hatha Yoga exercises; only don’t do them for two or three hours. A few minutes will be enough.” Sri Chinmoy – The hour of meditation

headstandIt was quite difficult to do it at first.

It is best to build up slowly, not trying to get a full headstand but build up strength and control by slowly raising legs. For the first few weeks, I can only get up 70-90% of the way – I have long legs so maybe harder to balance!

It feels quite rewarding when you gain control and can hold the headstand. It is important to be able to come down with control.

I do it near a wall, but I don’t use the wall for control.

If I start growing back hair, you will know that headstands have a great benefit!

The other inversion yoga posture highly recommended is Salamba Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) I found this relatively easier to do. Continue Reading →

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I love coffee

Sri Chinmoy has written a book “My Tea and Coffee Experiences” However, a good friend who used to work as an attendant for Sri Chinmoy told an amusing story, which was not published in that book. He said Sri Chinmoy once felt the need to give up drinking coffee. So with a childlike enthusiasm, one evening he said to this attendant. “I have given up coffee.”

Sri Chinmoy paused and then added.

“Now I just need to give up cappuccino!”

Sometimes spiritual Masters like to show they have a sense of humour.

herbal-tea Continue Reading →

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Ganapati

Ganapati

We have a new statue of Ganapati.

Ganapati or Ganesha is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom.

dec-gardenThere’s not much left in the garden apart from a few Brussel Sprouts (yum!) and some Kale. I have one or two lettuces under a cloche.

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Star Wars and a blast from the past

These days I rarely watch films. Unless I’m a captive audience on trans-atlantic flights, I tend to get bored half-way through or annoyed at some predictable storyline. To sound like an old codger – a lot of the modern stuff isn’t my cup of tea.

The other thing is that when I revisit things from childhood – the magic is usually gone. When I was a kid, nothing was greater than the prospect of Christmas. I loved Lord of the Rings to the point of religious devotion and I thought playing ‘Howzat’ Cricket with rolling dice and noting imaginary scores in beautifully kept scorebooks (plus working out all the batting and bowling averages of course!) – was the greatest way to spend hours and hours of time.

I spent literally whole summers playing ‘Owzthat’ against myself.

(In retrospect, I’m glad I had Howzat rather than the modern video games/screens. We did see computers come in but I was never that taken with them. I remember the family getting a BBC 32k computer. You loaded games on a cassette and it took three minutes to load ‘Chuckie Egg.’

But, sometimes it’s best to leave the past in the past. Your idea of perfection can’t stay the same as when you are seven years old. My rare foray into social activities as a young child was when we used to play teddy bear cricket with a wooden peg snapped in half for a bat and a small red ball. But, that’s another story!)


Anyway, the one exception to getting bored by films was watching ‘Star Wars’ I watched the film at the weekend and I surprised myself by really enjoying it. I haven’t seen the film for years and years. But, I think I enjoyed it more now than I did as a child. Maybe it helped that I heard my teacher Sri Chinmoy say it was a good film with a spiritual theme¬† (don’t know the exact words) Anyway it was great. A good film and I was suitably inspired to try and clear the mind and follow the way of the Jedi Master’s in their battle against darkness and ignorance!

May the force be with you!

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Picture of tree and thought for the day

autumn-iffley-tree

This is a tree in Iffley Village – part of my extended commute into town. It’s a beautiful time of the year.

I am currently reading a book on the “Alexander Technique” I like it because it encourages a moment of reflection before doing anything – trying to avoid bad habits we get into. In terms, of my understanding, it reminds me of Sri Chinmoy’s encouragement to meditate before doing anything. Continue Reading →

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The meaning of remembrance and a better future

In the UK, Remembrance Sunday is a significant event to honour those who died during the world wars. This year is of special significance because it marks 100 years since the armistice ending the First World War.

poppies

When I was young, our school went on a trip to Belgium to visit former battlefields and cemeteries. The most striking thing was the realisation that easily I could have been born 100 years earlier and faced the prospect of going to war. I have always been grateful for being born in a time of peace and not have to face the challenges of that generation.

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Once, I watched a long documentary about the First World War. One striking thing was in the first episode. They interviewed Bertrand Russell (a famous pacifist who was later sent to jail for later campaigning against the war) Russell noted that when war was declared he couldn’t help but notice and feel a wave of enthusiasm for the war sweep the whole nation – like an external force. He was shocked to be aware of and feel this enthusiasm in the air, even though his whole nature was personally against war. Perhaps the war was the unstoppable culmination from many years of inner aggression and striving for supremacy amongst the powerful nations.

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Often I have thought – how would I respond if I was a young male in 1914? The over-riding feeling is gratitude I don’t have to make a choice. I am not a pacifist – there are times when it is necessary to fight – but also I do not believe you should fight simply out of patriotism or because your government tells you to. Continue Reading →

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Spiritual significance of running

I wrote an article for Sri Chinmoy Races ‘The spiritual significance of running.’

I feel slightly embarrassed in the sense that my personal experiences of running are pretty lame.

tejvan-uphill-running

Running uphill.

I once did the Menston four-mile fun run. I would have won the under seven category except for half-way around; I stopped to take my number off my front and put it on my back (so it wouldn’t flap in my face). I got pipped on the line and finished 2nd. It was an early lesson in marginal gains. Put your number on properly.

tejvan

Me on the left

Aged 14, I ran for my school – Bradford Grammar School. In those days, I doubt very much I was meditating on the spiritual significance of running – rather cross-country seemed a less bad choice than having to play rugby. Once I came last in a race, so I used this as an excuse to give up cross-country running and take up being a teenager instead.

When I joined Sri Chinmoy’s Path, I took up running for a short while. It was great for a few months, but then I got a knee injury for a few years, so I took up cycling instead. Continue Reading →

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